WATCH: Socceroos fall short after Japan strike late

In what was a rainy and cold evening in Sydney, Australia was narrowly defeated 2-0 by Japan. 

In front of thousands of vocal Australian fans on Thursday evening on a wet and cold night in Sydney, Australia. It was the Socceroos who played out a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat at Stadium Australia. 

In what was an exciting first half shadowed by the wet weather which had disrupted Sydney all day leading up to the Australia v Japan clash, the Socceroos and the Samurai Blue were locked in at 0-0 at half-time. 

Kaoru Mitoma netted a late winner for Japan which sent the Samuari Blue into the FIFA World Cup and confirmed Australia's 3rd place finish in the final round of qualification. 

Both Gianni Stensness and Bruno Fornaroli impressed on their international debuts for Australia, while both Marco Tilio and Connor Metcalfe put in solid shifts as they both played their second and third game for the Socceroos respectively. Ben Folami also made his debut late on against Japan. 

Australian fans braved the weather to watch the Socceroos in Sydney, Australia

Under treacherous at Stadium Australia, neither Australia nor Japan could instil a dominant period of play inside the first half as chances fell to both the Socceroos and the Samurai Blue. 

Japanese Striker Takuma Asano had the first chance in the opening half as he was slipped behind the Green and Gold defence but Australian custodian Mathew Ryan stood strong to deny the 27-year-old who was later deemed to be offside.  

Moments later, the Socceroos thought they had the first goal of the evening as Martin Boyle delivered a beautiful ball into the path of Gianni Stensness but Trent Sainsbury was adjudged to have fouled Shūichi Gonda. 

Two big chances fell to the way of current Liverpool attacking-midfielder Takumi Minamino as both his headers struck the crossbar and post of Mathew Ryan's goal to the relief of the Australian fans across Stadium Australia.  

After a shot was blocked from the Japanese defence, Joel King's shot from distance fell to the feet of Mitch Duke but his effort on goal dribbled past the Gonda's goal to the disappointment of the Australian fans at Stadium Australia. 

However, despite Duke and Minamino having the best chances for the Green and Gold and Japan respectively neither side were able to net a go-ahead goal in the first half. 

Both Australia and Japan had chances to score in the first half

The Socceroos came out firing right away in the second half as Ajdin Hrustic's free-kick from distance stung the palms of Gonda. Then less than a minute later the 25-year-old had a golden opportunity to net his third goal for Australia but his shot glanced wide of the Samuari Blue goal. 

Asano was played in the Australian 18-yard box and as the 27-year-old turned and swivelled inside the Green and Gold box, his shot generated little to no power to trouble Ryan but his shot on goal allowed Japan to pile on substantial pressure onto the Australian goal. 

On the 68th minute, Socceroo Number #618 entered the field. At 34 years of age, current Perth Glory and A-League Men starlet Bruno Fornaroli entered the fray and he looked to make an instant impact for his new home country. 

Late on, Japan had another chance to go ahead in the tie but if not for brilliant defending from Australia on the goal-line, the Samurai Blue would have had the go-ahead goal with 10 minutes to go. 

However, it was heartbreak for Australia as a late Japanese counter-attack and cut-back across the Australian 12-yard-line resulted in Kaoru Mitoma slamming home the winner for Japan late on in the 89th minute and

The 24-year-old doubled his tally on the evening as he fired home Japan's second after a brilliant run through the Australian defence which sealed Australia's fate. 

Australia has one last game remaining in the final stage of FIFA World Cup Qualification as they face Saudi Arabia in five days' time with kick-off set for 5:00 AM AEDT. 

That match will be broadcast live and free in Australia on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play.